We love to measure the fruitfulness of a person’s life by listing a string of achievements. When Paul talks of the fruit of the Spirit in a person’s life he speaks of qualities that though recognisable are challenging to measure.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Gal5:23-24NIV)
One of the consequences of measuring fruitfulness in terms of achievement is that we see the obstacles to an achievement as obstacles to fruitfulness for God. If my ministry is diminished through events or people beyond my control I become frustrated that I cannot achieve for God what I would desire. This road can lead to helplessness and self pity or to drivenness and abuse.
Yet these very obstacles are the backdrop through which a deeper fruitfulness of character can be developed. If I take note of my frustration I can use it as an indicator of my need for God. I call out for His intervention against the cause of frustration and for my transformation so that I could demonstrate love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, and the like when the presence of the obstacle is goading me to behave in the opposite way.
Frustration is the anvil on which true fruitfulness is forged.